The book Everyone Eats by (E. N. Anderson, 2014) mentions that enough food is available to feed the world, yet over a billion people are undernourished. Anderson continues to say, hundreds of millions go to bed hungry, and starvation is the most common cause of death. On the contrary, approximately the same number is overfed and obese (E. N. Anderson, 2014).
I mention South St Elizabeth a lot, not only because it has my history and tradition catalogue. Mommies side of my family is fisher folks and Daddies side, farmers. The cross between that is a Chef “Smiles.”
Farmers weep their losses when a glut of a particular crop/produce is on the market. I grew up seeing almost every yard in south St Elizabeth with a pick-up, used on farms and distributing produce, livestock, and fish, packed in old refrigerators on ice, shaved from the blocks you got when the ice truck ran. I remember my brothers’ ambition (as a child) was to become a sideman on an ice truck.
Distribution of our local harvest is essential to our economic growth and development. Prices are evenly distributed; the product is made available, and the farmer realizes a sustainable industry. Supporting our local produce is a crucial ingredient for such an accomplishment.
I do not know what the “Ruzzo” means. However, I have heard it all my life when a farmer has left back the so-called inferior quality product in the field that eventually rots because a vendor refused to buy a cabbage with a wormhole or a “bun batty melon” (a watermelon with a sunburnt bottom). I usually cut this part away and enjoy some of the sweetest fruits of the crop.
Not everyone had livestock to feed, and while I am not suggesting we eat animals’ food, we provided the pigs with our food. Sure, that may cut some cost from the livestock farmer, but what about canning, juicing, preparing, freezing, and preserving the mangy ways available for even wider distribution and presentation of a product. I have ackee, cherry, and green gungo peas (Pigeon Peas) all year; ask me, and I will tell you how. Large manufactures have it down to a science. Therefore I encourage the small farmers whose crops find it hard to make it out of the field to pursue distribution, processing, and preservation/storage to build your personal growth and the growth of a sustainable agricultural sector in Jamaica.
Randie Anderson Executive Chef, CEC, CCA,WCEC, MSc Gastronomic Tourism.
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